How Automated Pallet Movers Increase Efficiency in Distribution

by Prime Robotics
April 12, 2024
automated pallet moving robot in a warehouse

Improved Productivity With Pallet AMRs

Moving goods quickly through a warehouse or distribution center is important for any business to keep operations fluid and customers satisfied. One way organizations do this is through automated pallet movers—autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) powered by execution software. These pallet movers help streamline warehouse processes and make distribution centers more efficient. 

What are Automated Pallet Movers?

Automated pallet movers are robotic systems that move pallets throughout a warehouse or distribution center with little to no reliance on human workers. While forklifts and manual pallet jacks need human controllers, automated pallet movers use sensors and software to function. 

These automated systems come in different forms depending on an organization’s needs. From compact models for smaller aisle widths to larger industrialized versions for extreme payloads, there’s a system for any operation. 

How Automated Pallet Movers are Used in Distribution

Automated pallet movers are used to speed up the movement of goods throughout a warehouse. Because they don’t rely on human workers, these automated systems can run 24/7 to keep goods moving no matter the time of day. As a result, goods are received, stored, picked, packed, staged, and shipped faster than ever. 

Automated pallet-moving systems:

  • Autonomously transport pallets from receiving areas to designated storage locations on the floor or in a rack
  • Move pallets from storage to a picking or packing station
  • Assist in the picking and packing workflows with tailored station configurations 
  • Integrate with your warehouse management system (WMS)
  • Automate the staging process to minimize the need for human intervention

From receiving to shipping, these automated systems improve order accuracy, warehouse productivity, and operational efficiency. 

Benefits of Automated Pallet Movers

Warehouses and distribution centers that have adopted these automated systems have seen several benefits—primarily speed, accuracy, and productivity. Here are the top benefits of automated pallet movers. 

More Efficient Operations

Automated pallet movers streamline operations. The time taken to move goods through a warehouse is greatly decreased and increases order processing time. 

These systems are also more accurate than human workers. Mistakes in order processing can become costly. Automated pallet movers help reduce human error that happens during the handling and routing of products. These movers are precise in picking and placing, making sure that the right products reach the right locations, and simplifying inventory processes. 

Safer Workplaces

Distribution centers and warehouses, like all workplaces, have the potential to result in workplace injuries. By using automated systems like pallet-moving robots, the risk of workplace injuries decreases as humans are no longer doing all the heavy lifting. With less human and forklift traffic, accidents are minimized. Automated pallet movers are typically equipped with safety features to create a safer work environment and minimize the loss of goods. 

Cost Savings

Though automating a warehouse or distribution center with automated pallet-moving systems is an investment, the ROI realized over time is substantial. , Organizations see reduced labor costs, decreased downtime, and reduced product loss.. These funds can then be used to improve the business in other ways, such as expanding to other locations, investing in newer technology, and developing new or existing products. 

Plus, reduced risk of workplace injuries cuts down on costs associated with these injuries, from materials to insurance claims. 

Scalability

One of the biggest advantages of automated pallet-moving systems is their scalability.  Organizations can easily adjust the size of their robotic fleet depending on their infrastructure and overall needs. 

If demand decreases, a warehouse may choose to use fewer robots for a certain period of time. Alternatively, a warehouse may scale up its usage of robots for busy periods, such as the holiday season. 

Challenges in Implementing Automated Pallet Movers

Implementing any new type of technology comes with its challenges. Technical issues, staff training, and initial investment are among the most common challenges warehouse operators face when deploying an automated pallet-moving system. 

Luckily, proper planning and preparation mitigate most of these issues. Businesses should look to hire staff familiar with working alongside this technology, and properly train staff without automation experience. Also, preparing a reasonable budget is essential to realizing the desired business results.

Setting clear goals and realistic expectations around the integration process helps reduce concerns and ensure alignment across the organization. Changing to a new system will take time to get used to, but the benefits will prove worthwhile in the long run. 

Other Factors to Consider

There are several factors to consider before making the switch to an automated pallet-moving system. When planning, evaluate aspects such as:

  • Available warehouse space
  • Initial setup costs
  • Existing operation technology

The space you have in your warehouse or distribution center determines how big of a system you can implement. Larger spaces fit bigger, more complex systems, while smaller spaces may need simpler systems. Choosing an automation partner who will work with you to understand your environment and determine the right-sized system for your space will help ensure a successful deployment. 

Organizations also need to consider the initial setup costs. Costs involve more than just the system itself—there may be costs for setup, training, and system maintenance. Evaluating these costs and working them into your project plan will help you achieve the expected and desired ROI.

If your warehouse or distribution center already uses automation technology, you’ll want to work with a robotics partner who will map out and integrate the new automated pallet-moving system with your existing system(s). Any integration should align with your business objectives and operational needs. 

Final Thoughts

The integration of automated pallet movers into warehouses and distribution centers is a huge step toward a more efficient supply chain. These systems are more productive, safer, and result in cost savings in the long run. As technology evolves, the adoption of AMRs in these environments will only increase. 

Whether you operate a small warehouse or a high-volume distribution center, an automated pallet system helps streamline operations, improve throughput, and stay competitive in today’s market. 

Contact us today to learn how our automated pallet movers can transform your operations. 

Prime Robotics